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  1. 1

    WHO guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2018. 116 p.

    The guideline uses state-of-the-art evidence to identify effective policy options to strengthen community health worker (CHW) programme performance through their proper integration in health systems and communities. The development of this guideline followed the standardized WHO approach. This entailed a critical analysis of the available evidence, including 16 systematic reviews of the evidence, a stakeholder perception survey to assess feasibility and acceptability of the policy options under consideration, and the deliberations of a Guideline Development Group which comprised representation from policy makers and planners from Member States, experts, labour unions, professional associations and CHWs. Critical to the success of these efforts will be ensuring appropriate labour conditions and opportunities for professional development, as well as creating a health ecosystem in which workers at different levels collaborate to meet health needs. Adapted to context, the guideline is a tool that supports optimizing health policies and systems to achieve significant gains to meet the ambition of universal access to primary health care services.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    Effect of support supervision on maternal and newborn health services and practices in Rural Eastern Uganda.

    Kisakye AN; Muhumuza Kananura R; Ekirapa-Kiracho E; Bua J; Akulume M; Namazzi G; Namusoke Kiwanuka S

    Global Health Action. 2017 Aug; 10(sup4):1345496.

    BACKGROUND: Support supervision is one of the strategies used to check the quality of services provided at health facilities. From 2013 to 2015, Makerere University School of Public Health strengthened support supervision in the district of Kibuku, Kamuli and Pallisa in Eastern Uganda to improve the quality of maternal and newborn services. OBJECTIVE: This article assesses quality improvements in maternal and newborn care services and practices during this period. METHODS: District management teams were trained for two days on how to conduct the supportive supervision. Teams were then allocated particular facilities, which they consistently visited every quarter. During each visit, teams scored the performance of each facility based on checklists; feedback and corrective actions were implemented. Support supervision focused on maternal health services, newborn care services, human resources, laboratory services, availability of Information, education and communication materials and infrastructure. Support supervision reports and checklists from a total of 28 health facilities, each with at least three support supervision visits, were analyzed for this study and 20 key-informant interviews conducted. RESULTS: There was noticeable improvement in maternal and newborn services. For instance, across the first, second and third quarters, availability of parenteral oxytocin increased from 57% to 75% and then to 82%. Removal of retained products increased from 14% to 50% to 54%, respectively. There was perceived improvement in the use of standards and guidelines for emergency obstetric care and quality of care provided. Qualitatively, three themes were identified that promote the success of supportive supervision: changes in the support supervision style, changes in the adherence to clinical standards and guidelines, and multi-stakeholder engagement. CONCLUSION: Support supervision helped district health managers to identify and address maternal and newborn service-delivery gaps. However, issues beyond the jurisdiction of district health managers and facility managers may require additional interventions beyond supportive supervision.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    Working with community health workers to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes: implementation and scale-up lessons from eastern Uganda.

    Namazzi G; Okuga M; Tetui M; Muhumuza Kananura R; Kakaire A; Namutamba S; Mutebi A; Namusoke Kiwanuka S; Ekirapa-Kiracho E; Waiswa P

    Global Health Action. 2017 Aug; 10(sup4):1345495.

    BACKGROUND: Preventable maternal and newborn deaths can be averted through simple evidence-based interventions, such as the use of community health workers (CHWs), also known in Uganda as village health teams. However, the CHW strategy faces implementation challenges regarding training packages, supervision, and motivation. OBJECTIVES: This paper explores knowledge levels of CHWs, describes the coverage of home visits, and shares lessons learnt from setting up and implementing the CHW strategy. METHODS: The CHWs were trained to conduct four home visits: two during pregnancy and two after delivery. The aim of the visits was to promote birth preparedness and utilization of maternal and newborn health (MNH) services. Mixed methods of data collection were employed. Quantitative data were analyzed using Stata version 13.0 to determine the level and predictors of CHW knowledge of MNH. Qualitative data from 10 key informants and 15 CHW interviews were thematically analyzed to assess the implementation experiences. RESULTS: CHWs' knowledge of MNH improved from 41.3% to 77.4% after training, and to 79.9% 1 year post-training. However, knowledge of newborn danger signs declined from 85.5% after training to 58.9% 1 year later. The main predictors of CHW knowledge were age (>/= 35 years) and post-primary level of education. The level of coverage of at least one CHW visit to pregnant and newly delivered mothers was 57.3%. Notably, CHW reports complemented the facility-based health information. CHWs formed associations, which improved teamwork, reporting, and general performance, and thus maintained low dropout rates at 3.6%. Challenges included dissatisfaction with the quarterly transport refund of 6 USD and lack of means of transportation such as bicycles. CONCLUSIONS: CHWs are an important resource in community-based health information and improving demand for MNH services. However, the CHW training and supervision models require strengthening for improved performance. Local solutions regarding CHW motivation are necessary for sustainability.
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  4. 4

    Family planning workforce. Key indicators.

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carolina Population Center [CPC]. MEASURE Evaluation

    Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center [CPC], MEASURE Evaluation, 2018 Jun. 4 p. (FS-18-278d; USAID Cooperative Agreement No. AID-OAA-L-14-00004)

    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Population and Reproductive Health (PRH) strives to increase access to and use of family planning (FP) products and services. PRH works with countries to strengthen the FP workforce so that it can support and implement priority interventions that expand access to these products and services. Robust human resource systems that enable strong human resource management will reinforce sustainability of the FP workforce. Rigorous monitoring and evaluation is essential to the success of FP programs. This resource outlines eleven key indicators that USAID partner organizations can use to inform the monitoring and evaluation of programs strengthening the FP workforce, which PRH identified as a priority area. Though some of these indicators address higher-level FP workforce issues, the information they yield is nonetheless critical to programmatic decision making. Each indicator featured in this resource contains its definition and calculation as well as any suggested disaggregations or reference periods. No program or project should use all indicators presented here. For routine monitoring, program managers and evaluators should select a few relevant indicators that both are important to program objectives and easy to collect and interpret. The indicators may be supplemented or tailored to reflect a program’s unique context and objectives.
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  5. 5
    Peer Reviewed

    Numbers, systems, people: how interactions influence integration. Insights from case studies of HIV and reproductive health services delivery in Kenya.

    Mayhew SH; Sweeney S; Warren CE; Collumbien M; Ndwiga C; Mutemwa R; Lut I; Colombini M; Vassall A

    Health Policy and Planning. 2017 Nov 1; 32(suppl_4):iv67-iv81.

    Drawing on rich data from the Integra evaluation of integrated HIV and reproductive-health services, we explored the interaction of systems hardware and software factors to explain why some facilities were able to implement and sustain integrated service delivery while others were not. This article draws on detailed mixed-methods data for four case-study facilities offering reproductive-health and HIV services between 2009 and 2013 in Kenya: (i) time-series client flow, tracking service uptake for 8841 clients; (ii) structured questionnaires with 24 providers; (iii) in-depth interviews with 17 providers; (iv) workload and facility data using a periodic activity review and cost-instruments; and (v) contextual data on external activities related to integration in study sites. Overall, our findings suggested that although structural factors like stock-outs, distribution of staffing and workload, rotation of staff can affect how integrated care is provided, all these factors can be influenced by staff themselves: both frontline and management. Facilities where staff displayed agency of decision making, worked as a team to share workload and had management that supported this, showed better integration delivery and staff were able to overcome some structural deficiencies to enable integrated care. Poor-performing facilities had good structural integration, but staff were unable to utilize this because they were poorly organized, unsupported or teams were dysfunctional. Conscientious objection and moralistic attitudes were also barriers.Integra has demonstrated that structural integration is not sufficient for integrated service delivery. Rather, our case studies show that in some cases excellent leadership and peer-teamwork enabled facilities to perform well despite resource shortages. The ability to provide support for staff to work flexibly to deliver integrated services and build resilient health systems to meet changing needs is particularly relevant as health systems face challenges of changing burdens of disease, climate change, epidemic outbreaks and more. (c) The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
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  6. 6
    Peer Reviewed

    Performance-based incentives may be appropriate to address challenges to delivery of prevention of vertical transmission of HIV services in rural Mozambique: a qualitative investigation.

    Schuster RC; de Sousa O; Rivera J; Olson R; Pinault D; Young SL

    Human Resources For Health. 2016 Oct 07; 14(1):60.

    BACKGROUND: Performance-based incentives (PBIs) have garnered global attention as a promising strategy to improve healthcare delivery to vulnerable populations. However, literature gaps in the context in which an intervention is implemented and how the PBIs were developed exist. Therefore, we (1) characterized the barriers and promoters to prevention of vertical transmission of HIV (PVT) service delivery in rural Mozambique, where the vertical transmission rate is 12 %, and (2) assessed the appropriateness for a PBI's intervention and application to PVT. METHODS: We conducted 24 semi-structured interviews with nurses, volunteers, community health workers, and traditional birth attendants about the barriers and promoters they experienced delivering PVT services. We then explored emergent themes in subsequent focus group discussions (n = 7, total participants N = 92) and elicited participant perspectives on PBIs. The ecological motivation-opportunity-ability framework guided our iterative data collection and thematic analysis processes. RESULTS: The interviews revealed that while all health worker cadres were motivated intrinsically and by social recognition, they were dissatisfied with low and late remuneration. Facility-based staff were challenged by factors across the rest of the ecological levels, primarily in the opportunity domain, including the following: poor referral and record systems (work mandate), high workload, stock-outs, poor infrastructure (facility environment), and delays in obtaining patient results and donor payment discrepancies (administrative). Community-based cadres' opportunity challenges included lack of supplies, distance (work environment), lack of incorporation into the health system (administration), and ability challenges of incorrect knowledge (health worker). PBIs based on social recognition and that enable action on intrinsic motivation through training, supervision, and collaboration were thought to have the most potential for targeting improvements in record and referral systems and better integrating community-based health workers into the health system. Concerns about the implementation of incentives included neglect of non-incentivized tasks and distorted motivation among colleagues. CONCLUSIONS: We found that highly motivated health workers encountered severe opportunity challenges in their PVT mandate. PBIs have the potential to address key barriers that facility- and community-based health workers encounter when delivering PVT services, specifically by building upon existing intrinsic motivation and leveraging highly valued social recognition. We recommend a controlled intervention to monitor incentives' effects on worker motivation and non-incentivized tasks to generate insights about the feasibility of PBIs to improve the delivery of PVT services.
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  7. 7
    Peer Reviewed

    Opportunities, challenges and systems requirements for developing post-abortion family planning services: Perceptions of service stakeholders in China.

    Jiang H; Xu J; Richards E; Qian X; Zhang W; Hu L; Wu S; Tolhurst R

    PloS One. 2017; 12(10):e0186555.

    Post-abortion family planning (PAFP) has been proposed as a key strategy to decrease unintended pregnancy and repeat induced abortions. However, the accessibility and quality of PAFP services remain a challenge in many countries including China where more than 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year. Most of these unwanted pregnancies end in repeated induced abortions. This paper aims to explore service providers' perceptions of the current situation regarding family planning and abortion service needs, provision, utilization, and the feasibility and acceptability of high quality PAFP in the future. Qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, were used with family planning policy makers, health managers, and service providers. Three provinces-Zhejiang, Hubei and Yunnan-were purposively selected, representing high, medium and relatively undeveloped areas of China. A total of fifty-three in-depth interviews and ten focus-group discussions were conducted and analysed thematically. Increased numbers of abortions among young, unmarried women were perceived as a major reason for high numbers of abortions. Participants attributed this to increasing socio-cultural acceptability of premarital sex, and simultaneously, lack of understanding or awareness of contraception among young people. The majority of service stakeholders acknowledged that free family planning services were neither targeted at, nor accessible to unmarried people. The extent of PAFP provision is variable and limited. However, service providers expressed willingness and enthusiasm towards providing PAFP services in the future. Three main considerations were expressed regarding the feasibility of developing and implementing PAFP services: policy support, human resources, and financial resources. The study indicated that key service stakeholders show demand for and perceive considerable opportunities to develop PAFP in China. However, changes are needed to enable the systematic development of high quality PAFP, including actively targeting young and unmarried people in service provision, obtaining policy support and increasing the investment of human and financial resources.
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  8. 8
    Peer Reviewed

    Job satisfaction and turnover intentions among health care staff providing services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

    Naburi H; Mujinja P; Kilewo C; Orsini N; Bärnighausen T; Manji K; Biberfeld G; Sando D; Geldsetzer P; Chalamila G; Ekström AM

    Human Resources for Health. 2017; 15(1)

    Background: Option B+ for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV (i.e., lifelong antiretroviral treatment for all pregnant and breastfeeding mothers living with HIV) was initiated in Tanzania in 2013. While there is evidence that this policy has benefits for the health of the mother and the child, Option B+ may also increase the workload for health care providers in resource-constrained settings, possibly leading to job dissatisfaction and unwanted workforce turnover. Methods: From March to April 2014, a questionnaire asking about job satisfaction and turnover intentions was administered to all nurses at 36 public-sector health facilities offering antenatal and PMTCT services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with job dissatisfaction and intention to quit one's job. Results: Slightly over half (54%, 114/213) of the providers were dissatisfied with their current job, and 35% (74/213) intended to leave their job. Most of the providers were dissatisfied with low salaries and high workload, but satisfied with workplace harmony and being able to follow their moral values. The odds of reporting to be globally dissatisfied with one's job were high if the provider was dissatisfied with salary (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 5.6, 95% CI 1.2-26.8), availability of protective gear (aOR 4.0, 95% CI 1.5-10.6), job description (aOR 4.3, 95% CI 1.2-14.7), and working hours (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 1.3-7.6). Perceiving clients to prefer PMTCT Option B+ reduced job dissatisfaction (aOR 0.2, 95% CI 0.1-0.8). The following factors were associated with providers' intention to leave their current job: job stability dissatisfaction (aOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.3-10.5), not being recognized by one's superior (aOR 3.6, 95% CI 1.7-7.6), and poor feedback on the overall unit performance (aOR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3-5.8). Conclusion: Job dissatisfaction and turnover intentions are comparatively high among nurses in Dar es Salaam's public-sector maternal care facilities. Providing reasonable salaries and working hours, clearer job descriptions, appropriate safety measures, job stability, and improved supervision and feedback will be key to retaining satisfied PMTCT providers and thus to sustain successful implementation of Option B+ in Tanzania. © 2017 The Author(s).
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  9. 9

    Introducing an accountability framework for polio eradication in Ethiopia: results from the first year of implementation 2014-2015.

    Kassahun A; Braka F; Gallagher K; Gebriel AW; Nsubuga P; M'pele-Kilebou P

    Pan African Medical Journal. 2017; 27(Suppl 2):12.

    INTRODUCTION: the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia country office, introduced an accountability framework into its Polio Eradication Program in 2014 with the aim of improving the program's performance. Our study aims to evaluate staff performance and key program indicators following the introduction of the accountability framework. METHODS: the impact of the WHO accountability framework was reviewed after its first year of implementation from June 2014 to June 2015. We analyzed selected program and staff performance indicators associated with acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance from a database available at WHO. Data on managerial actions taken were also reviewed. Performance of a total of 38 staff was evaluated during our review. RESULTS: our review of results for the first four quarters of implementation of the polio eradication accountability framework showed improvement both at the program and individual level when compared with the previous year. Managerial actions taken during the study period based on the results from the monitoring tool included eleven written acknowledgments, six discussions regarding performance improvement, six rotations of staff, four written first-warning letters and nine non-renewal of contracts. CONCLUSION: the introduction of the accountability framework resulted in improvement in staff performance and overall program indicators for AFP surveillance.
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  10. 10
    Peer Reviewed

    Is task-shifting a solution to the health workers' shortage in Northern Ghana?

    Okyere E; Mwanri L; Ward P

    PloS One. 2017; 12(3):e0174631.

    OBJECTIVE: To explore the experiences and perceptions of health workers and implementers of task-shifting in rural health facilities in Upper East Region, Ghana. METHODS: Data was collected through field interviews. A total of sixty eight (68) in-depth interviews were conducted with health workers' in primary health care facilities (health centres); Four in-depth interviews with key persons involved in staff management was conducted to understand how task-shifting is organised including its strengths and challenges. The health workers interview guide was designed with the aim of getting data on official tasks of health workers, additional tasks assigned to them, how they perceive these tasks, and the challenges associated with the practice of task-shifting. FINDINGS: Task-shifting is a practice being used across the health facilities in the study area to help reduce the impact of insufficient health workers. Generally, health workers had a comprehensive training that supported the organisation of task-shifting. However, staff members' are sometimes engaged in tasks above their level of training and beyond their actual job descriptions. Adequate training is usually not provided before additional tasks are assigned to staff members. Whilst some health workers perceived the additional tasks they performed as an opportunity to learn new skills, others described these as stressful and overburdening. CONCLUSION: Task-shifting has the potential to contribute to addressing the insufficient health workforce, and thereby improving health delivery system where the procedures are well defined and staff members work in a coordinated and organised manner. The provision of adequate training and supervision for health workers is important in order to improve their expertise before additional tasks are assigned to them so that the quality of care would not be compromised.
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  11. 11
    Peer Reviewed

    HIV Task Sharing Between Nurses and Physicians in Nigeria: Examining the Correlates of Nurse Self-Efficacy and Job Satisfaction.

    Iwu EN; Holzemer WL

    Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. 2017 May - Jun; 28(3):395-407.

    A global shortfall of 12.9 million health care workers has been predicted to occur in the next two decades. Task sharing between physicians and nurses, a method used to help compensate for provider shortages, was shown to improve access to antiretroviral therapy in Africa, but led to nurses performing beyond their scopes of practice. We surveyed 508 nurses in task-shifted roles in Nigeria. Respondents (n = 399) provided information on age, years in practice, gender, registration status, employment site, and access to task-sharing training and mentoring. Years in practice negatively influenced task-sharing self-efficacy. Positive correlates of job satisfaction were years in practice, older age, male gender, single licensure, employment at a tertiary hospital, mentoring, and duration of training. System challenges and employment in faith-based and nontertiary hospitals increased likelihood of job dissatisfaction. Supportive practice and policy interventions are needed to minimize negative effects of disparities in job satisfaction across facilities. Copyright (c) 2017 Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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  12. 12
    Peer Reviewed

    Chinese non-governmental organizations involved in HIV/AIDS prevention and control: Intra-organizational social capital as a new analytical perspective.

    Wang D; Mei G; Xu X; Zhao R; Ma Y; Chen R; Qin X; Hu Z

    Bioscience Trends. 2016 Nov 15; 10(5):418-423.

    HIV/AIDS is a major public health and social problem worldwide, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have played an irreplaceable role in HIV/AIDS prevention and control. At the present time, however, NGOs have not fully participated in HIV/AIDS prevention and control in China. As an emerging focus on international academic inquiry, social capital can provide a new perspective from which to promote the growth of NGOs. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommends creating regional policies tailored to multiple and varying epidemics of HIV/AIDS. In order to provide evidence to policymakers, this paper described the basic information on NGOs and their shortage of social capital. This paper also compared the actual NGOs to "government-organized non-governmental organizations" (GONGOs). Results indicated that i) Chinese NGOs working on HIV/AIDS are short of funding and core members. GONGOs received more funding, had more core members, and built more capacity building than actual NGOs; ii) Almost half of the NGOs had a low level of trust and lacked a shared vision, networks, and support. The staff of GONGOs received more support from their organization than the staff of actual NGOs. Existing intra-organizational social capital among the staff of NGOs should be increased. Capacity building and policymaking should differentiate between actual NGOs and GONGOs. The relationship between social capital and organizational performance is a topic for further study.
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  13. 13
    Peer Reviewed

    Strategies for optimal implementation of simulated clients for measuring quality of care in low-and middle-income countries.

    Fitzpatrick A; Tumlinson K

    Global Health: Science and Practice. 2017 Mar 24; 5(1):108-114.

    The use of simulated clients or “mystery clients” is a data collection approach in which a study team member presents at a health care facility or outlet pretending to be a real customer, patient, or client. Following the visit, the shopper records her observations. The use of mystery clients can overcome challenges of obtaining accurate measures of health care quality and improve the validity of quality assessments, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. However, mystery client studies should be carefully designed and monitored to avoid problems inherent to this data collection approach. In this article, we discuss our experiences with the mystery client methodology in studies conducted in public- and private-sector health facilities in Kenya and in private-sector facilities in Uganda. We identify both the benefits and the challenges in using this methodology to guide other researchers interested in using this technique. Recruitment of appropriate mystery clients who accurately represent the facility's clientele, have strong recall of recent events, and are comfortable in their role as undercover data collectors are key to successful implementation of this methodology. Additionally, developing detailed training protocols can help ensure mystery clients behave identically and mimic real patrons accurately while short checklists can help ensure mystery client responses are standardized. Strict confidentiality and protocols to avoid unnecessary exams or procedures should also be stressed during training and monitored carefully throughout the study. Despite these challenges, researchers should consider mystery client designs to measure actual provider behavior and to supplement self-reported provider behavior. Data from mystery client studies can provide critical insight into the quality of service provision unavailable from other data collection methods. The unique information available from the mystery client approach far outweighs the cost.
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  14. 14
    Peer Reviewed

    Health sector reform and public sector health worker motivation: a conceptual framework.

    Franco LM; Bennett S; Kanfer R

    Social Science and Medicine. 2002 Apr; 54(8):1255-1266.

    Motivation in the work context can be defined as an individual's degree of willingness to exert and maintain an effort towards organizational goals. Health sector performance is critically dependent on worker motivation, with service quality, efficiency, and equity, all directly mediated by workers’ willingness to apply themselves to their tasks. Resource availability and worker competence are essential but not sufficient to ensure desired worker performance. While financial incentives may be important determinants of worker motivation, they alone cannot and have not resolved all worker motivation problems. Worker motivation is a complex process and crosses many disciplinary boundaries, including economics, psychology, organizational development, human resource management, and sociology. This paper discusses the many layers of influences upon health worker motivation: the internal individual-level determinants, determinants that operate at organizational (work context) level, and determinants stemming from interactions with the broader societal culture. Worker motivation will be affected by health sector reforms which potentially affect organizational culture, reporting structures, human resource management, channels of accountability, types of interactions with clients and communities, etc. The conceptual model described in this paper clarifies ways in which worker motivation is influenced and how health sector reform can positively affect worker motivation. Among others, health sector policy makers can better facilitate goal congruence (between workers and the organizations they work for) and improved worker motivation by considering the following in their design and implementation of health sector reforms: addressing multiple channels for worker motivation, recognizing the importance of communication and leadership for reforms, identifying organizational and cultural values that might facilitate or impede implementation of reforms, and understanding that reforms may have differential impacts on various cadres of health workers. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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  15. 15

    Working together for health. The World Health Report 2006.

    Chen L; Evans D; Evans T; Sadana R; Stilwell B; Travis P; Van Lerberghe W; Zurn P

    Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2006. 237 p.

    The World Health Report 2006 - Working together for health contains an expert assessment of the current crisis in the global health workforce and ambitious proposals to tackle it over the next ten years, starting immediately. The report reveals an estimated shortage of almost 4.3 million doctors, midwives, nurses and support workers worldwide. The shortage is most severe in the poorest countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where health workers are most needed. Focusing on all stages of the health workers' career lifespan from entry to health training, to job recruitment through to retirement, the report lays out a ten-year action plan in which countries can build their health workforces, with the support of global partners.
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  16. 16

    Work profile of community health extension workers in Cross River State and implications for achieving MDG 4 and 5.

    Ikpeme BM; Oyo-Ita AE; Akpet O

    Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care. 2013 Sep; 25(2):76-79.

    INTRODUCTION: The goal of significant reduction in maternal and child mortality could be achieved if national health services de-emphasizes vertical public health programs and services and strengthen community services9. Community based service are usually directed toward identification of at risk groups in the community such as pregnant women and children U5 years and provide them services not only in the health centers but also in the home. Studies have shown that those at greatest risk of high morbidity and mortality are least likely to make use of health services. A survey of caregiver knowledge of 19 key household and community practices in selected communities in Cross River showed that high proportion of mothers and caregivers lack appropriate health knowledge to correctly manage their sick children in the home7. OBJECTIVE: To identify where community health extension workers work and what services they are providing in primary health care METHODOLOGY: One hundred and forty one questionnaires were distributed among community health extension workers in two local governments in Cross River State. The instrument was simple structured self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: The study showed that most of the community health extension workers (91%) were fully engaged with activities in the health centres ( Table 2) The study showed that community health extension workers were responsible for immunization, growth monitoring, antenatal and pregnancy care, and curative care (table 3). Although majority of the community health extension workers were aware that they should be working in community but when asked why they did not, their reply was that there was insufficient number of staff in health centers. (Table 4) CONCLUSION: Nigeria health system is concentrated on facility and curative based services. Community based health care is almost completely absent. The total involvement of community health extension workers in the health centres care rather than to work with mothers and caregivers will make the achievement of the millennium development goals for mothers and children as distant as it was 40 years ago when primary health care strategy was adopted for achievement of health for all in Nigeria. It is recommended that community health extension workers should be recruited to work in the communities.
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  17. 17
    Peer Reviewed

    Who is a community health worker? -- a systematic review of definitions.

    Olaniran A; Smith H; Unkels R; Bar-Zeev S; van den Broek N

    Global Health Action. 2017; 10(1):1272223.

    Background: Community health workers (CHWs) can play vital roles in increasing coverage of basic health services. However, there is a need for a systematic categorisation of CHWs that will aid common understanding among policy makers, programme planners, and researchers. Objective: To identify the common themes in the definitions and descriptions of CHWs that will aid delineation within this cadre and distinguish CHWs from other healthcare providers. Design: A systematic review of peer-reviewed papers and grey literature. Results: We identified 119 papers that provided definitions of CHWs in 25 countries across 7 regions. The review shows CHWs as paraprofessionals or lay individuals with an in-depth understanding of the community culture and language, have received standardised job-related training of a shorter duration than health professionals, and their primary goal is to provide culturally appropriate health services to the community. CHWs can be categorised into three groups by education and pre-service training. These are lay health workers (individuals with little or no formal education who undergo a few days to a few weeks of informal training), level 1 paraprofessionals (individuals with some form of secondary education and subsequent informal training), and level 2 paraprofessionals (individuals with some form of secondary education and subsequent formal training lasting a few months to more than a year). Lay health workers tend to provide basic health services as unpaid volunteers while level 1 paraprofessionals often receive an allowance and level 2 paraprofessionals tend to be salaried. Conclusions: This review provides a categorisation of CHWs that may be useful for health policy formulation, programme planning, and research. Copyright: © 2017 The Author(s). Open Access.
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  18. 18
    Peer Reviewed

    Quality of Sexually Transmitted Infection Case Management Services in Gauteng Province, South Africa: An Evaluation of Health Providers' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices.

    Ham DC; Hariri S; Kamb M; Mark J; Ilunga R; Forhan S; Likibi M; Lewis DA

    Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2016 Jan; 43(1):23-9.

    BACKGROUND: The sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinical encounter is an opportunity to identify current and prevent new HIV and STI infections. We examined knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding STIs and HIV among public and private providers in a large province in South Africa with a high disease burden. METHODS: From November 2008 to March 2009, 611 doctors and nurses from 120 public and 52 private clinics serving patients with STIs in Gauteng Province completed an anonymous, self-administered survey. Responses were compared by clinic location, provider type, and level of training. RESULTS: Most respondents were nurses (91%) and female (89%), were from public clinics (91%), and had received formal STI training (67%). Most (88%) correctly identified all of the common STI syndromes (i.e., genital ulcer syndrome, urethral discharge syndrome, and vaginal discharge syndrome). However, almost none correctly identified the most common etiologies for all 3 of these syndromes (0.8%), or the recommended first or alternative treatment regimens for all syndromes (0.8%). Very few (6%) providers correctly answered the 14 basic STI knowledge questions. Providers reporting formal STI training were more likely to identify correctly all 3 STI syndromes (P = 0.034) as well as answer correctly all 14 general STI knowledge questions (P = 0.016) compared with those not reporting STI training. In addition, several providers reported negative attitudes about patients with STI that may have affected their ability to practice optimal STI management. CONCLUSIONS: Sexually transmitted infection general knowledge was suboptimal, particularly among providers without STI training. Provider training and brief refresher courses on specific aspects of diagnosis and management may benefit HIV/STI clinical care and prevention in Gauteng Province.
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  19. 19

    Training for Better Management: Avante Zambezia, PEPFAR and Improving the Quality of Administrative Services Comment on "Implementation of a Health Management Mentoring Program: Year-1 Evaluation of Its Impact on Health System Strengthening in Zambezia Province, Mozambique".

    Schwarcz SK; Rutherford GW; Horvath H

    International Journal of Health Policy and Management. 2015 Jul 23; 4(11):773-5.

    The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) emphasizes health systems strengthening as a cornerstone of programmatic success. Health systems strengthening, among other things, includes effective capacity building for clinical care, administrative management and public health practice. Avante Zambezia is a district-level in-service training program for administrative staff. It is associated with improved accounting practices and human resources and transportation management but not monitoring and evaluation. We discuss other examples of successful administrative training programs that vary in the proportion of time that is spent learning on the job and the proportion of time spent in classrooms. We suggest that these programs be more rigorously evaluated so that lessons learned can be generalized to other countries and regions. (c) 2015 by Kerman University of Medical Sciences.
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  20. 20
    Peer Reviewed

    Accounting for variations in ART program sustainability outcomes in health facilities in Uganda: a comparative case study analysis.

    Zakumumpa H; Bennett S; Ssengooba F

    BMC Health Services Research. 2016 Oct 18; 16(1):584.

    BACKGROUND: Uganda implemented a national ART scale-up program at public and private health facilities between 2004 and 2009. Little is known about how and why some health facilities have sustained ART programs and why others have not sustained these interventions. The objective of the study was to identify facilitators and barriers to the long-term sustainability of ART programs at six health facilities in Uganda which received donor support to commence ART between 2004 and 2009. METHODS: A case-study approach was adopted. Six health facilities were purposively selected for in-depth study from a national sample of 195 health facilities across Uganda which participated in an earlier study phase. The six health facilities were placed in three categories of sustainability; High Sustainers (2), Low Sustainers (2) and Non- Sustainers (2). Semi-structured interviews with ART Clinic managers (N = 18) were conducted. Questionnaire data were analyzed (N = 12). Document review augmented respondent data. Based on the data generated, across-case comparative analyses were performed. Data were collected between February and June 2015. RESULTS: Several distinguishing features were found between High Sustainers, and Low and Non-Sustainers' ART program characteristics. High Sustainers had larger ART programs with higher staffing and patient volumes, a broader 'menu' of ART services and more stable program leadership compared to the other cases. High Sustainers associated sustained ART programs with multiple funding streams, robust ART program evaluation systems and having internal and external program champions. Low and Non Sustainers reported similar barriers of shortage and attrition of ART-proficient staff, low capacity for ART program reporting, irregular and insufficient supply of ARV drugs and a lack of alignment between ART scale-up and their for-profit orientation in three of the cases. CONCLUSIONS: We found that ART program sustainability was embedded in a complex system involving dynamic interactions between internal (program champion, staffing strength, M &E systems, goal clarity) and external drivers (donors, ARVs supply chain, patient demand). ART program sustainability contexts were distinguished by the size of health facility and ownership-type. The study's implications for health systems strengthening in resource-limited countries are discussed.
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  21. 21
    Peer Reviewed

    The impact of delays on maternal and neonatal outcomes in Ugandan public health facilities: the role of absenteeism.

    Ackers L; Ioannou E; Ackers-Johnson J

    Health Policy and Planning. 2016 Nov 1; 31(9):1152-1161.

    Maternal mortality in low- and middle-income countries continues to remain high. The Ugandan Ministry of Health’s Strategic Plan suggests that little, if any, progress has been made in Uganda in terms of improvements in Maternal Health [Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5] and, more specifically, in reducing maternal mortality. Furthermore, the UNDP report on the MDGs describes Uganda’s progress as ‘stagnant’. The importance of understanding the impact of delays on maternal and neonatal outcomes in low resource settings has been established for some time. Indeed, the ‘3-delays’ model has exposed the need for holistic multi-disciplinary approaches focused on systems change as much as clinical input. The model exposes the contribution of social factors shaping individual agency and care-seeking behavior. It also identifies complex access issues which, when combined with the lack of timely and adequate care at referral facilities, contributes to extensive and damaging delays. It would be hard to find a piece of research on this topic that does not reference human resource factors or ‘staff shortages’ as a key component of this ‘puzzle’. Having said that, it is rare indeed to see these human resource factors explored in any detail. In the absence of detailed critique (implicit) ‘common sense’ presumptions prevail: namely that the economic conditions at national level lead to inadequacies in the supply of suitably qualified health professionals exacerbated by losses to international emigration. Eight years’ experience of action-research interventions in Uganda combining a range of methods has lead us to a rather stark conclusion: the single most important factor contributing to delays and associated adverse outcomes for mothers and babies in Uganda is the failure of doctors to be present at work during contracted hours. Failure to acknowledge and respond to this sensitive problem will ultimately undermine all other interventions including professional voluntarism which relies on local ‘co-presence’ to be effective. Important steps forward could be achieved within the current resource framework, if the political will existed. International NGOs have exacerbated this problem encouraging forms of internal ‘brain drain’ particularly among doctors. Arguably the system as it is rewards doctors for non-compliance resulting in massive resource inefficiencies.
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  22. 22
    Peer Reviewed

    District health manager and mid-level provider perceptions of practice environments in acute obstetric settings in Tanzania: a mixed-method study.

    Ng'ang'a N; Byrne MW; Kruk ME; Shemdoe A; de Pinho H

    Human Resources For Health. 2016; 14(1):47.

    BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa, the capacity of human resources for health (HRH) managers to create positive practice environments that enable motivated, productive, and high-performing HRH is weak. We implemented a unique approach to examining HRH management practices by comparing perspectives offered by mid-level providers (MLPs) of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) in Tanzania to those presented by local health authorities, known as council health management teams (CHMTs). METHODS: This study was guided by the basic strategic human resources management (SHRM) component model. A convergent mixed-method design was utilized to assess qualitative and quantitative data from the Health Systems Strengthening for Equity: The Power and Potential of Mid-Level Providers project. Survey data was obtained from 837 mid-level providers, 83 of whom participated in a critical incident interview whose aim was to elicit negative events in the practice environment that induced intention to leave their job. HRH management practices were assessed quantitatively in 48 districts with 37 members of CHMTs participating in semi-structured interviews. RESULTS: The eight human resources management practices enumerated in the basic SHRM component model were implemented unevenly. On the one hand, members of CHMTs and mid-level providers agreed that there were severe shortages of health workers, deficient salaries, and an overwhelming workload. On the other hand, members of CHMTs and mid-level providers differed in their perspectives on rewards and allocation of opportunities for in-service training. Although written standards of performance and supervision requirements were available in most districts, they did not reflect actual duties. Members of CHMTs reported high levels of autonomy in key HRH management practices, but mid-level providers disputed the degree to which the real situation on the ground was factored into job-related decision-making by CHMTs. CONCLUSIONS: The incongruence in perspectives offered by members of CHMTs and mid-level providers points to deficient HRH management practices, which contribute to poor practice environments in acute obstetric settings in Tanzania. Our findings indicate that members of CHMTs require additional support to adequately fulfill their HRH management role. Further research conducted in low-income countries is necessary to determine the appropriate package of interventions required to strengthen the capacity of members of CHMTs.
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  23. 23
    Peer Reviewed

    Inspiring health worker motivation with supportive supervision: a survey of lady health supervisor motivating factors in rural Pakistan.

    Rabbani F; Shipton L; Aftab W; Sangrasi K; Perveen S; Zahidie A

    BMC Health Services Research. 2016; 16(1):397.

    BACKGROUND: Community health worker motivation is an important consideration for improving performance and addressing maternal, newborn, and child health in low and middle-income countries. Therefore, identifying health system interventions that address motivating factors in resource-strained settings is essential. This study is part of a larger implementation research project called Nigraan, which is intervening on supportive supervision in the Lady Health Worker Programme to improve community case management of pneumonia and diarrhea in rural Pakistan. This study explored the motivation of Lady Health Supervisors, a cadre of community health workers, with particular attention to their views on supportive supervision. METHODS: Twenty-nine lady health supervisors enrolled in Nigraan completed open-ended structured surveys with questions exploring factors that affect their motivation. Thematic analysis was conducted using a conceptual framework categorizing motivating factors at individual, community, and health system levels. RESULTS: Supportive supervision, recognition, training, logistics, and salaries are community and health system motivating factors for lady health supervisors. Lady health supervisors are motivated by both their role in providing supportive supervision to lady health workers and by the supervisory support received from their coordinators and managers. Family support, autonomy, and altruism are individual level motivating factors. CONCLUSIONS: Health system factors, including supportive supervision, are crucial to improving lady health supervisor motivation. As health worker motivation influences their performance, evaluating the impact of health system interventions on community health worker motivation is important to improving the effectiveness of community health worker programs.
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  24. 24

    Update on the ASHA Programme.

    India. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. National Health Mission

    [New Delhi], India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2015 Jul. [44] p.

    This issue is the twelfth in the series of bi-annual ASHA updates. It is produced by the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) for the National Health Mission (NHM), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The objective of the ASHA update is to report on programme progress, provide information on key events and other relevant information related to the ASHA and Community Processes programme that have taken place in the last six months since the last update. This Update Covers the period between January 2015 and June 2015.
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  25. 25

    Stakeholders' engagements with the community health worker: The Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA). A taluka / block level research study of India.

    Bhatia K

    Thane, India, ASHAVANI, 2013 Mar. [343] p.

    The Community Health Worker has been the subject of several research studies across countries in terms of her performance. The difficulties of the Community Health Worker have also been explored to an extent but largely with a view of sustenance of the health programmes. Some gender-based studies of women in health work including Community Health Workers have highlighted aspects of gender discrimination and oppression. However there is little known about the views of the women themselves about their own work. The contentious issues that have persisted in large-scale Community Health Programmes according to available knowledge are: processes of selection and training of Community Health Workers; poor systemic support offered to them; difficulties in the nature of employment including payments; difficulties with the extent of curative services offered by them and their relationships with the local stakeholders from the health services and the community. In India the Community Health Worker has long been a part of health care services for rural populations across the voluntary sector. As far as India s public health sector is concerned, Community Health Workers have been incorporated in the rural health services with varying degrees of success. (ExcerptS)
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